Aramark unveils health care technology center in Charlotte

A $14 billion corporation known for its food and uniform services says it strengthened its grasp on health care technologies Wednesday with the unveiling of a 105,000-square-foot training and equipment facility in Charlotte.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Charlotte Chamber, Aramark, headquartered in Philadelphia, opened its new Technology & Innovation Center in the Twin Lakes Business Park north of uptown.

The center is an expansion of an Aramark facility that had been in the business park 14 years and served as an administrative building, said Ken Sandifer, president of Aramark’s health care technologies line.

For the past 30 years, Aramark has asserted itself as a manager of medical equipment for hospitals and major health care systems, such as Bon Secours Health System, he said.

The new facility, a multimillion-dollar investment, employs 140 people – 40 of whom were hired over the past year, Sandifer said. He declined to cite the total investment.

Engineers, customer services representatives and technical support staff will use the center to test medical equipment before it’s distributed to clients. The company’s 1,600 biomedical technicians and engineers will use the facility for periodic training.

The center includes 32 patient suites housing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, X-ray systems and a catheterization laboratory designed for real-life training scenarios. Employees will be able to monitor and troubleshoot equipment issues at hospitals from their facility.

Leaders tout the site as a way of bolstering the company’s position as an innovator of health care technology. With hospitals focused on improving patient satisfaction and bolstering declining margins, health care systems are searching for the best in equipment support, Sandifer said.

“This technology and innovation center represents the kind of investment and the kind of operation our clients are going to expect of us,” he said. “Given the state of health care today, a lot of our clients are looking for ways to drive … productivity and efficiency.”

Aramark doesn’t produce the technological equipment housed at the center, but performs maintenance on such equipment and consults with clients on the best technology to provide for hospitals and other medical outfits.

Aramark employs more than 270,000 people worldwide. It reported $3.6 billion in revenue and $46.9 million in profits last quarter.